Well here we are again, discussing the aftermath of yet another Israeli military operation to ‘stamp out terrorism’. Yet again the victims of said ‘military operation’ were the Palestinians; this time prisoners — for this is what they are in truth — of the Jenin refugee camp in the illegally occupied West Bank.
The usual apologetics and justifications for the heavily-armed, Western-backed forces of a racist apartheid state attacking a near defenceless indigenous people have become so tiresome, they penetrate the ears like so much chaff.
To be a Palestinian is to be guilty, while to be an Israeli is to be innocent. The killing of a Palestinian is an act of defence, while the killing of an Israeli is an act of terrorism. Dare defy or question this script is to be antisemitic, while go along with it is to be credible and correct.
The problem with this dynamic, its inherent immorality, is that it flies in the face of any conception of truth, decency and probity. In this regard, the salient facts are as follows:
- Israel is a settler-colonial apartheid state underpinned by an ideology, Zionism, which has been predicated from inception on the racist disregard for the rights and humanity of an entire people.
- The occupation of the West Bank since 1967 is illegal under international law, meaning that Israel has existed for every second of every day since in a state of illegality. In other words, as a rogue state.
- The right of the Palestinian people to resist their occupation and oppression is enshrined in international law. The right of the Israelis to occupy and oppress them is not.
- Israeli settlements constitute a particularly heinous crime that exists within the larger crime of apartheid.
- Any ugliness pertaining to the resistance is a direct reflection of the ugliness of the oppression that has given rise to it.
The people of Jenin refugee camp, along with every other Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank, exist; they do not live. Indeed, their lives have been so disfigured and rendered unlivable by their occupier and oppressor that the only meaning left lies in their resistance to it. This is the only way by which they are able to retain a shred of dignity.
Israel’s dehumanising and brutal and cruel disregard for the Palestinian people has nothing, zero, to do with the Judaism, everything to do with colonialism. Whether British, French, Portuguese, Belgian, American — all colonisers embrace a racist disregard for the humanity of their victims in order to justify within themselves their colonisation and the brutal treatment meted out to them. Thus colonialism corrupts and demeans the coloniser in the process of oppressing and dispossessing the colonised.
According to the Israeli human rights organisation, B’Tselem, in a report published at the beginning of June this year, incarcerated within Israeli prisons were 4,407 Palestinians at the end of March 2023. Included among them were/are 500 children aged between 12 and 17 years old. There are also an additional number of Palestinians being held in Israeli military prisons on top of the 4,407.
At time of writing, there are no Israelis being held in Palestinian prisons, and thus it is beyond argument that this is not a conflict between two warring parties. Instead, it is a brutal system of armed and violent oppression of an indigenous people whose only crime is that they dare exist on land coveted by their oppressor.
The prison guards at Auschwitz did not speak Arabic and the Palestinians were not in any way, shape or form responsible for the Judeocide that took place in the heart of Enlightenment Europe in the 1940s. That they have been condemned to pay the price for this monstrous crime is and will always remain unconscionable.
Uncomfortable as is might be for Zionism’s true believers, Zionism shares many of the characteristics of Nazism ideologically and in how it informs language and methodology. The Nazis themselves understood this, which is why they entered into the infamous Haavara Agreement with German Zionists and their supports in mandate Palestine in the early 1930s to undertake the emigration of Jews from Germany to the then proto-Zionist state — this on the basis that in the hearts and minds of both German Jews were not German and had no business in Germany.
The wider international Jewish economic boycott of Nazi Germany in the early 1930s in solidarity with Germany’s then persecuted Jewish people, which the Haavara Agreement violated, has its modern day equivalent in the form of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement of Israel in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
The description of Israel as an apartheid state is a statement of fact, shared by the aforementioned B’Tselem and also Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former US President Jimmy Carter, former UN rapporteur Richard Falk, and an increasing number of other credible individuals and organisations around the world.
When Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir infamously opined in 1969 that “There was no such thing as Palestinians,” she was voicing not a statement of fact but a statement of intent and the overriding objective of the apartheid state. Dispossession not justice is what drives Israeli state policy towards the Palestinians. It drove it then and it drives it now.
It is why the cause of the Palestinian people is the cause of humanity in our time.
The author is a writer and commentator and can be found on medium where this article was originally published